Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lettuce and Corn Salad With Homemade Chicken Tocino

For the last couple of days I have been trying to eat healthier by having salad as my dinner, however  last night I must confess I enjoyed several yummy Chinese dishes including delicious fried rice. Now back to my salad days, most of the time I would make a simple vinaigrette, but the other night I decided to make a lettuce and corn salad with sour cream dressing and paired with homemade chicken tocino.  I made the salad without a recipe just whipped up a dressing from the stuff I found in the fridge and pantry.  Loved how satisfying this hearty salad turned out. 

The recipe for the chicken tocino I found in a magazine advertorial. The tocino recipe is super simple, however I know I can further improve on this next time, most likely eliminating the granules to make it healthier. 

Here is the salad recipe:

Shredded corn (preferably from the cob but canned corn will work too)
Sour Cream
Onion powder
Juice from 1 calamansi
Dash of black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper

Combine sour cream, onion powder, calamansi juice, black and cayenne pepper. In a plate assemble lettuce and corn, then add sour cream dressing and toss everything together. Top with chicken tocino. 

Homemade Chicken Tocino Recipe:

1/2 kilo chicken breast fillet, slice into very thin strips
2 tbsp Maggi Savor, or your preferred liquid seasoning
1 8 gram sachet Maggi Magic Sarap, or your preferred flavoring granules
2 tbsps chopped garlic
2 tbsps brown sugar
Cooking oil

Marinate chicken in liquid seasoning, Maggi Magic Sarap, garlic and sugar overnight.   Then fry in hot oil. The advertorial recommends that your serve this for breakfast with fried egg and sinangag. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fried Shrimp Wontons

I was in the mood for some Chinese, so I decided to make fried shrimp wontons for the first time. I found an easy enough recipe to follow in Yummy Magazine. Instead of making all the wontons triangle shaped I made some that were half moon shaped. The wontons turned out pretty good, really crispy and tasty. Next project is to make these steamed for a healthier version. 

Here is the recipe:
300 grams shrimps
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp chopped green onion
20 -24 pieces wonton wrappers (use square wrappers to make traingle shaped wontons or round dumpling wrappers to make half moon shapes)
1 egg, whisked to use as an egg wash
oil for deep frying

1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl except the wonton, egg and oil. 
2. Make the wonton triangles by placing a spoonful of the mixture in the center of each wrapper.
3. Brush with egg wash and fold to make triangles, or half moons.
4. Heat enough oil to deep-fry the wonton pieces.  Make sure the oil is not too hot that the wrappers blister and brown within seconds.
5. Fry in batches and drain on paper towels.  Serve with sweet chili sauce.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ice Candies

Yummy Icy Treats
The weather has been really weird the last couple of days.  July is almost over but it seems like it is still summer.  Then in the afternoon a brief rain shower would occur, then be gone in about an hour, making the weather sticky and humid.  I feel like I am in a sauna.  Good thing we have ice candy in the freezer to keep us cool in this weird weather. 

In the '80s it seemed iced candy was all the rage. During summer several houses in our village would put up signs - Iced Candy For Sale.  My parents did not want us to eat ice candy, they claimed we would get sick because the water used to make them was dirty.  And apparently my parents never had iced candy when they were young.  It seemed to me that I and my brothers were the only kids that have never had ice candy.  My Lola took pity on us, so she decided to make these treats herself. She used  powdered juices  Kool Aid or Tang, whichever was available.  And then there was this  liquid juice concentrate that I can't recall the name, this one produced the most flavorful iced candies. It was such a treat when we finally were able to take the candies out of the fridge, turn them over to bite off the plastic from the bottom end, and then finally start licking and sucking till our tongues became numb.

Nowadays ice candy has become sophisticated by using fresh fruits, milk, and cream.  One of these days I'll try to make this type of ice candy.  But for now I will have to use my Lola's simple version of powdered juice and water.  I will be forever thankful to my Lola for making us these childhood treats, despite my parents' objections.  She did not try to overrule them, instead she found ways to work around some of the rules.

As for the Little Ones, at this time they are not quite as fond as I am of these treats.  I guess they are still too young, they find it difficult to hold and eat. But I am sure in a few years they will grow to love these frosty treats as much as I do. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mercato Centrale

When I was living on my own I use to frequent the weekend markets in Makati, especially the Sunday market at Legaspi since it was just a block from where I used to live. I miss those wonderful lazy Sundays where I spend the whole morning at the market walking around looking for new finds and old favorites. 

The other week I had the chance to visit Mercato Centrale for the first time.  I have been hearing so many good things about this newest weekend market.  I went with the Little Ones in tow, so I made a list of the stuff  I wanted us to try.

Manang's Chicken 
First on the list was Manang's Chicken.  This was such a hit with the Little Girl.  We got the an order of 6 wings, she finished 3 wings on her own.  The combination of the crispy coating together with the sweet tangy sauce made this a winner for the Little Girl. She was licking her fingers, it was that good. 

Lechon Tortilla
Dining at Claude Tayag's Bale Dutung in Pampanga is on my bucket list.  So when I learned that they  have a stall in Mercato I had to include them on my list..  I love lechon so I had to get the lechon tortilla.  The combination of the ingredients made this a delicious wrap, each bite is flavorful. And I was pleasantly surprised that lechon meat was crisp but not totally dry.  Next time I will have to try the Pan de Bagnet, it looks wickedly yummy.  

Merry Moo Ice Cream 
I wanted the Little Ones to try  the bacon ice cream, unfortunately it was not available.  So we ended up getting a cup of French vanilla for me, and mallows with pop rocks for them.  Both were very creamy and flavorful, worth every calorie.  I was expecting that the kids would be surprised by the pop rocks popping in their mouths, but there wasn't any pop. I guess the pop rocks lost their sizzle.  On our next visit  we hope the bacon ice cream will be available.   

Muncheez Yummy Treat
The Little Girl loved the free samples being offered by the different stalls.  So I let her be and told her she could buy what she liked best.  After sampling everything that caught her interest she decided to get two items.  The first one she chose was Marla's Original Muncheez a yummy cornflakes treat.  This is a perfect treat for kids, not too sweet nor is it sticky.  

See the big smile the Little Girl has.  Wish I had bought more, the whole pack was finished by the following day, that's how much the Little Ones liked this treat. 

Fudgy Bonbon
This was the other discovery of the Little Girl.  She tried several of the free sample items from Monfort's Kitchen.  After thinking it over she decided to get a box of the fudgy bonbon.  

I am not much of sweet/dessert person so I leave the choosing  and eating of sweets to the Little Ones.  This was a hit not just with the kids but with their Mita too.  Mita claims that these bonbons  are  not overly sweet and she likes that it was dense and moist inside.

Finally there was this stall, that I forgot to take note of the name, that had refreshing calamansi juice and crispy shrimps from Kalibo or was it Palawan, I can't recall.  The crispy shrimps was another hit with the kids. 

We hope to be back in Mercato soon with more food finds. 

P.S. On our way out of the market I spotted 3 celebrities - RJ Ledesma of the old Royal Tru-Orange tv commercials and Anton Diaz of with his lovely wife Rache.  I believe the three of them are organizers of Mercato. I wanted sana to have a picture taken with them but I decided against it. I did not want the Little Ones and my Sister-in-Law to rib me for being such a baduy fan.  Maybe next time I should go alone :) 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breaded Spanish Sardines with Garlic-Basil Pasta

 The Little Girl saw me reading the July 2011 issue of Yummy Magazine, when I got to this page she said it looks delicious and requested that I make it.  I am not much of a fish eater because I am afraid "na matinik" ako.  I guess this fear is from my childhood, whenever Lola would serve me fish I would also get a fishbone stuck in my throat.  It was a very painful experience thus I avoid fish except for canned tuna and bottled bangus. 

But the Little Ones love to eat fish, so I gave in to the Little Girl's request and made this dish today.  This is a real simple dish, it took me less than 30 minutes to make.  I had to tweak it a little because apart from myself the rest of the family are not basil fans.  In my opinion you really need the sweetness of the basil to balance the whole dish, so in my plate I sprinkled some dried basil on my pasta. I was hesitant to take the first bite, because I am afraid that another fishbone would get stuck, thankfully no bones whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised on how tasty the dish was, and the breadcrumbs add a very nice texture to the dish.  The Little Girl loved it, she had two huge servings.  I told her this is a fish dish that I would gladly make again for her and me to share. 

Here is the recipe:
1 (5.5 ounce) bottle Spanish Sardines in oil, oil reserved
1/4 cup Japanese breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons minced garlic
handful of fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup water
250 grams penne or pasta of choice, cooked according to package directions
salt and pepper to taste
chili flakes, to serve (optional)

1. In a bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of sardine oil with Japanese breadcrumbs.  Pour the rest of the oil into a saute pan and heat over medium heat.  Gently coat the sardines in breadcrumbs then fry lightly, just until breadcrumbs are crisp; set aside.
2. In the same pan, saute garlic until lightly browned.  Add 4 chopped basil leaves then add water.  Toss in noodles and mix until well coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add remaining fresh basil; toss to combine.
3. To serve, transfer to a serving plate. Top with fried sardines and sprinkle with chili flakes, if desired. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I love Crabs

My love for crabs started when I was a very young girl.  I love everything about crabs.  I love their shape, I love their color, I love how feisty they are and most of all I love how DELICIOUS they taste!

There was a time I was obsessed with the claws. Trying to get the last morsel of meat out of them. Recently I discovered that the tiny legs have such sweet and yummy meat.  Before I use to disregard the legs, now I gather every leg,  these have become my favorite.  I simply break the legs and then squeeze the meat out.  My family thinks I am being a crab cheapskate and what I am doing is silly, because my fingers at times become sore from the squeezing.   But I tell you for me the meat I get from the legs is worth all the trouble :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kani Salad

My body was craving for something light.  Found some lettuce and kani sticks in the fridge, shredded them up.  Squeezed several pieces of calamani, then whisked  in some oil to make a yummy dressing. Tossed everything together.  A simple and satisfying salad was the result. Wish I had the willpower to eat this healthy every day, but I don't and I probably never will.  But I take pride on days that I do make the healthier choice, keeping my fingers crossed that this happens more often :) 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Breaded Shrimps

I'll keep this very short, I made this dish free-style, did not have a recipe. Saw that we had some shrimps, and left-over pandesal which I turned into breadcrumbs the result breaded shrimps. They turned out so pretty looking.  The coating was perfectly crispy and the shrimp was so sweet and yummy. I was so happy munching on these beauties :) 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


For those who are not familiar with this delicious creature here is Wikipedia's definition:
Curacha also known as spanner crab or red frog crab is a local Chavacano name given to a seacrab species found in Zamboanga. It is uniquely found in the deep-waters of Zamboanga and nowhere else in the world. It is a highbred crustacean, with crossbreed characteristics of a large sea crab and a big spiny lobster. It is a large crab with a red color, which stays the same in color even when cooked. The crab is usually steamed or boiled so its flavor is preserved.Unlike most crabs whose majority of meat can be found in their claws, the mother-load of the curacha's meat is found in its body

It has what I refer to as  "hairy legs" 
My paternal grandfather was a proud son of  Zamboanga, and my Dad spent his early years in this southern province.  When we were young Dad would take us to his hometown, so that we know our family's roots. Dad also made sure that we enjoyed this weird alien looking alimango cousin native to the Zamboanga peninsula. Love how the local restaurants like Alavar, Chimang and that restaurant that had the super long name with Seafood Island in it, offered different curacha dishes.  These restaurants had different ways of  cooking curacha, one thing they all had in common all the dishs were scrumptious. I remember one trip when my Lola Stella was determined to serve us some home cooked curacha.  She told us that she went to the market early because she wanted first pick of the curacha.  Only to be told by the vendors that only a few pieces were delivered and everything had  been bought by a military man who was hosting a party that day.  The guy was still in the marked, so my Lola tracked him down and begged that he sell him some because her nephew and his family has just arrived from Manila, and she wanted us to have some curacha for lunch.  I have to give it to Lola Stella, her charm and her animated gift of speaking must have been so convincing, the man eventually gave her about 2 kilos of curacha.   These were some of the best tasting curachas I had not only because they were fresh but because what Lola had to do to get them, it showed us how much she loved us. 

It has flat claws like a lobster

Oh the yummy meat and aligue
During last Saturday's market day one of the seafood vendors had curacha, it is very seldom that we find curacha in this market, so even if the price was at P450.00 a kilo, I know it's ridiculous, we had to buy some.  We asked if the curacha was fresh, the vendor claimed that it was definitely fresh because these just came in from Palawan via air, her words were "kakamatay lang nila".  We told her really now, we have never seen live curacha before, and we did not know that there were curachas in Palawan too.  When we got home my sister-in-law was left to attend to the goods from the market. My parents and I together with 1st Brother were going to church because it was Mom's birthday, then off to Quaipo to buy some daing and hamon for Dad. 

When we got back home my sister-in-law told us that she saw the curachas move.   Wow the vendor was telling the truth they were really alive.  They must have been tired from the plane ride when we bought them at the market.  At home they must have recovered, and were strong enough to move around when my sis-in-law noticed them. 

At dinner we enjoyed the sweet meat of the fresh curacha, they tasted wonderful. To paraphrase a Chinese fast-food chain's commercial - you don't need any sauce or dip all you need is your mouth to enjoy curacha, so if you have not had it before try it, you won't regret it, promise  :) 

Kung-Fu Panda 2 in 3D

This entry  is about month overdue, but I am still going to post so that when the Little Ones are grown up they can look back at the Little Boy's first cinema experience.

It was a hot summer weekday when I decided to take the kids to see Kung Fu Panda 2.  The Little Girl has been dropping hints for the last few days that she loved the first Kung Fu Panda moive, and the sequel was currently showing.  Since it was summer, school was out, I together with my sister-in-law took them to the movies.  Initially it was just supposed to be the Little Girl and me but the Little Boy wanted to come.  He has never been to the cinemas before and we were not quite sure if he would be still enough to even start the movie.

When we go to the Alabang Town Center Cinemas I was shocked to learn that each movie tickets costs P300.00++ because the movie was in 3D. The meant I had to shell out over P1,200.00 for the four of us. I almost turned around to leave, but heck the kids would be so disappointed.  So though I begrudged every peso I was handing over the the ticket seller, I kept thinking the Little Ones are worth it. The Little Girl wanted snacks, good thing my sis-in-law volunteered to pay for the snacks because I may have snapped at this point.

Like I said it was the Little Boy's first time in a cinema 3D pa wow.  So we settled ourselves in our seats, wore our 3D glasses and waited for the fun to start.  The Little Boy kept on saying "it is so dark, why?"  We tried to explain it to him. He was also very curious why we needed to wear the glasses.  He had so many questions, good thing we got him to be quite before the movie stated. 

It was my first time to watch a full length 3D movie. The only other 3D movie I had seen was a short cartoon showed in Ocean Park in Hong Kong.  That was a most dizzying experience, it seemed to me the whole cartoon was in orange, after the movie I was seeing stars..  So my expectations for a full length 3D movie was not too much.  I was pleasantly surprised that this 3D experience was a great one.  I guess over the years there have been leaps in the development of 3D technology. The colors were great, and you really felt like you were part of the movie. 

The Little Boy was enjoying himself, until a scary part of the movie, at that point he took off the 3D glasses.  He said he did not want to be hit but the stones being thrown.  So he watched the rest of the movie without the glasses.  Near the end he was getting a bit antsy, but I am proud that he finished the whole movie.  Much better than when we first took the Little Girl to see her first movie, we only got through the first 30 minutes, she wanted to leave na. 

I am looking forward to enjoying more movies with them, I just hope that the next movie will not be in 3D, my wallet wants to rest naman :) 
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